Thursday, November 24, 2016

Got a minute? :-)

PFFFFFF! Turkey is cooking, coffee is made, snacks are within reach........ Time for a chat!

Life has been a whirlwind of learning, adjusting, adapting, more learning, adjusting and adapting for a while now. We're not done yet, but I have high hopes that the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed a light, and not a freighttrain. LOL.

As most of you know, I don't like change, and I don't adapt very well, but learning I LOVE, so I guess the last little while hasn't been a total downer :-) After chemo and the culture shock of moving back to Holland, I just don't do the changes in course like I used to. Don't know what it is, whether it is everything put together, ages inflexibility kicking in, or just being tired of having to shift gear whenever somebody thinks it's that time, but I wish I could hit a nice tranquil stream, do my thing and just float for just a little while. BUT we all know there is no such thing, so I'm going to have to be OK with life as it hits me! LOL.

After finalizing my schooling in July, I started on the hard part of being a webdesigner... The business side. I'm not bad at it, I just don't have a clue LOL. So, I'm learning. Babysteps all the way, with lots of detours, because my silly mind is never happy with the information given, it always wants "more input". The upswing to that is that I get a way better understanding of what's waiting for me, mainly better reading glasses and lots of paperwork :-) The downside is that there is so much stuff in my brain right now, that I'm sometimes wondering if I'm not heading for total harddrive failure. Usually that happens right before our fuzzy roommate lays on the keyboard and demands attention though, so it's all good.

I went to the powers that be, after the chamber of commerce scared the bejeebies out of me, by telling me I couldn't, not with the approval of the Gemeente, get the permit to register my businessname, so I could build my website and "get going". I had my interview and was told that it could take up to 10 days before I heard back..... not quite. I barely made it home when I got a call from the company that would evaluate my plan and person as to wether it was ok to do. They made an appointment for Monday. Mind you, this is Thursday late afternoon, and at this point, my office is still squarely positioned on the kitchen table, because my desk is buried under boxes and whatnots that didn't have a place in the house, or missed the oneway trip to the dump/thriftstore.... We kicked butt that weekend, and got my office all done! Mike was great! He was soooo tired at night, that we had 4 days of sandwiches for lunch and dinner, because neither one of us had the energy to make anything that involved more than slamming a slice of bread on a plate, spread some speculoos or nutella on it, pour  a glass of milk and chow.  BUT we got it done, all went well, and within 3 weeks I had my "You're good to go" letter in the mail, followed by my first coaching session a week later. So I'm now officially official :-)

So far, it's been so cool, but I haven't had much time to code or anything, and it's beginning to worry me a little. I'm afraid I'll have to start over, but I'll start sneaking a little fun in here and there. Still have to be able to show a website before too long, so I best get started on it. I've decided fro the beginning it's NOT going to be a WP site, and I'm going to code it from scratch. I will also follow all the steps I should take when I'm building a site for a customer, so I know how long things will take (I'm sure that will help in the part of my training where I'll have to explain what I want to charge and why....) and what snag I might need to try and untangle at different points in the process.

I'm really chomping at the bit to get going on the "doing" business, but I am learning that I can't get away with not "learning" and "setting up" business.  It's fun, but a different kind of hard work than I expected. Not complaining though I'm just in that "I want to BE there......" whiny fase of the project. LOL!

We're watching Giants Football right now, followed by the Bills football, followed by Pumpkin-pie with hot chocolate. Dinner a little after that, and meeting at the castle around 6...... Mike has to go to work at 5 for Black Friday, and I give a senior computer-class at 9 so we won't make it late... but it's nice to have a "forced" down day. No books, no school, no webinars for me today, just fun. I may do a little scrapping, or website prep, but no "have to get it done today"-things.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope your Thanksgivings day is what you want it to be. As for me, I'm thankful to have my best friend next to me no matter what happens, be alive and be able to try and make a difference in our lives, by working my tail off :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one, twice when they're off the fuzzy variety and enjoy the day.

Love and hugs,

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's over

for me at least. I didn't advance to the next round in teh LayOut Artist challenge. There were a lot less voters this week I think than last week, but that was not the reason I didn't make it...... I got 2 votes, there were 24 contestants and only 20 were going to the next round. Three people had 1 vote, and I was next...... I'm a little disappointed, and if I'm honest, I probably wouldn't have had the time to be a CT for the site anyway. But it was fun while it lasted, and I wish all that are still "in it" the very best of luck :-)

I'll keep creating for Diane, and catch up on the pages for Boo, and call it good. Maybe, God forbid, scrap some of the photo's I have and make that Life-Book I've been working on for going on 10 years now. LOL.  NAH! Something will come up and throw a rod into the mix somewhere....

But my main focus has to be to finetune my coding skills. No news yet, whether I'll be looking for work, or working for me, but I need to expand and keep up with what I know, so that will be my 35 to 40 hour workweek, until I know more. I will get on with it next week, when Mike's going back to work, so that will give me a couple of days to revisit my plan of attack.

Well, you're as up to date as life ever gets here! It's 10PM, I'm (barely) functioning on 3 hours of sleep, so I'm going to see if my head recognizes my pillow, and if I can get some zzzz's for a couple of hours. Tomorrow, we have racks to put together, closets to take apart and shit to shift, so........ I'll leave you to it. :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Week TWO

of the LayOutArtist contest 2016.........
I made it thru week One. First I thought I made it, because there were 20 people going to round two, and we didn't have 20 entries, and than I counted, and saw that I actually would have gotten in on votes.... SOOOO happy about that :-)

Week TWO was a little less nerve wrecking, because I read the rules first... AND didn't have the deadline to contend with, because I'm actually a day early.

This week was all about the template. I used the one by Jenn Maddox called Artisan Favorite  but I mixed it with the mask of the other possible template we could use A little bit Arty. As soon as I saw the possible templates, I knew which one I wanted to use, and what picture to use on it, but I wanted a mask behind the template parts.

The kit used had to be from a Studio Designer, and I picked AKIKO by Diane Birrel. I tried to make a mask, but it didn't work, so I "stole" the mask from the other template. I hope I don't get disqualified for doing that, but I DO like the result, so.........

The shards and lamp are extracted from pictures I took at the exhibit.
Come look at the entries, vote for your favorites and maybe pick up s freebie or two?

Don't forget to hug a loved one, twice when they're of the fuzzy variety?


Friday, October 7, 2016

"You shall read the rules.......

before you post!" LOL.

Blondy here :-) I posted my entry for the Layout Artist contest, the way I had written up to do it... you know, post it here, that way etc.  and was very proud of myself but after a while I decided to read the rules, and discovered that the picture I used, and therefore most of the page, was not allowed........ So I spent the last 2 days to find a picture that would fit the layout, instead of having the picture and building the page around it, the way I usually do........ Now my pictures are spread out over 3 tera-drives and over a couple of folders, and even than, not in any particular order, so I'm very surprised I even made the deadline of finishing, and "all" I have to do now, is to get it posted everywhere it needs to go.......... again. LOL   You know, having the change the picture after you're happy with the page is a little bit like expecting enchiladas and getting hamburger-helper. It's still good, just not what you planned on..... This page is a little like that for me.

Voting will start in about 2 hours I think, so I hope you help me out :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one, and enjoy Di giorno de Colombo :-)


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I must have too much time on my hands.....

Or I'm just plain nuts. LOL. 
Now, before you hit that responds button......... This is a statement, not a question so it does NOT need an answer :-).......

I signed up for the  Layout Artist Contest at The Studio this year. It's not that I don't have anything to do,far from it, really, but it's a reflex! I miss scrapping, but I'm on the computer so much, that when/if I'm done with what needs doing, I check email and turn it off. I want to get back into scrapping, fit it back into my schedule. Every time I fall into bed at 3, knowing the alarm goes off at 5, with the fuzzy alarm going off at 4..... I think about giving up the CT duties, but I know I don't want to, so I'll have to find a way to "work it in".  I figured with the strict deadlines in the contest, it's a good way to get back in the habit, and lets face it.... It's just too much fun NOT to go for a contest like this!

There is a slight "hitch in the giddy-up" in that you need votes to proceed to the next level..... Not sure how I will work that in, but I'm hoping that everybody that knows me, will vote for me, if they think I should advance. If I don't stack up to the other contestants.... so be it :-)  Just in case, voting starts on October 7th and ends on the 10th. Not sure how the voting works, if you can vote on the page itself, or whether there is a separate thread per week..... but it should be fairly easy to follow the breadcrumbs around to the voting page. The other thing is, you have to sign up at the site, I believe.

So, here's my first weeks layout.
I always loved the car in Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries, so I had a picture of the car saved, but hadn't done anything with it, but have it as a background for a while...... 

I used the scatter and a very fuzzy circle as a mask for the picture.  I cropped the hood-ornament and ghosted it into the page and also used the Peonies and some of the butterfly to make it look like they belong on the white grungy sheet. The font used is Empire and I will have to find out which designer created which part of the rest of the page before I post it in The Studio

Here you go............... Hope you like it :-)

Friday, September 2, 2016


I thought I had heard all the crap music, seen all the crap theater and wasted all the time I was ever going to waste....... Until tonight.
We had Cultura Nova at the castle, and a performance of the picnic horrific..... I use the term performance loosely, and the horrific part was spot on!

On top of that, the organizer  scored some major bonus points as far as I'm concerned..... About 5 minutes after the performance started, the catering crew left, and I was wondering why, and was told.... Well, these people get paid, so if there's nothing for them to do, we send them home. If they were volunteers, it would be a different story, we could keep them here, not a problem. WTF? It perfectly illustrates how people think about volunteers. You're just useful, besides that, you're crap to them..... You know I love the project, I think it's very unique, very worthwhile, and I will do anything I can, to help, but besides giving tours, I'm pretty much done with it. This shit with... you do it, but I'll tell you how, while I'm trying to start my business, the partners that are supposed to help the project, using the volunteers as well as the project to further whatever it is they want to further, and the project doesn't get anything out of it..... I'm pretty disgusted right now. You sign up to be here, with no instructions, whatever, no one is reachable, and you're on your own ..... and I could go on a bit, but I won't.

I have 3 more boards to make for the exhibit. Due yesterday, but thru some major pain in the ass, that at the last minute decided I wasn't doing it right, throwing all kinds of monkey-wrenches and insults, no constructive critisism and only crap my way, and than goes on vacation, the fun is missing. As if I'm not stressed enough yet.

Just in the last 10 days, the Neons ABS went out, and yesterday the KA went thru its brakes. Our vacation got cancelled the day before Mike was supposed to be off, Wednesday I have an appointment with the Taxman, and after that I can figure out if I'm going to work for someone else, or for me. While having a 2 day workweek. I'm not sure how much more fun I can take.

Well, I'm done whining, and sorry to bug you with it but...... Shit happens, I just wish it would go somewhere else every once in a while.....

Don't forget to hug a loved one, and if you could, send a a couple of good thoughts our way?

Love and hugs,

Sunday, August 28, 2016

AH..... BLISS!

This is my idea of an awesome day at work: In a rocker, on the landing of the wolverine habitat, waiting for them to come out and play....

I should be working on my business plan, or the exhibit for the castle, but I'm just vegging. Enjoying the quiet in between visitors, who have no idea what they're missing, when they run up, look around, don't see anything, and leave again. It's been almost 3 hours, and I haven't seen them yet, so the visitors may have a point, but I still think if you're in a zoo to watch animals, you should at least give them a chance to show up :-) If you want them ready and waiting for you at the fence, you really should consider going to a ridingstable.

Internet is available, but I can't even get google to come up, so I'm happily "off line" today. I wonder if I should check  with the cell provider, if the bundle I'm looking for when I'm "official" includes me using my phone to get my laptop online.

The other thing I'm just thinking of is......... If I'm offline, will my "local host" dealy work? That will put a crimp in me coming out to my favorite office to work..... I'll try that out in a little bit. For now, I want to sit, relax and if I drift off......... so be it, as long as I don't drop my laptop that is.

Sitting here, I noticed that the zoo is growing up. There are less bare spots, trees are thicker, and so is the underbrush, and were the wolverines pretty stealthy before, I truly believe they could be right below me in the woods, and I would not see them. Luckily they still have the old paths in use, so maybe I'll get lucky today, and see them. Per the newsletter, they now have a new male to better match up with the female they had put with the older male when his mate died, so I don't know where their favorite spots are yet. I never DID get an answer as to what happened to the old male. He was so funny to watch. Always busy, running this way or another, inquisitive and playful. I couldn't count the times he would haul ass thru the paddock, dissappear, and reappear halfway up a tree. Always the same one, but never from the same route as the last time. I think watching this little guy got my love for them started, and the special Casey Anderson did on them, clinched it. Wolverine will have to go on my list of pets I would love to have and know I can't because they're not quite "cuddle up on a cold winters night" material, and best viewed in their element....... right up there with a wolf, a cougar, a bobcat, a raccoon and a hedgehog.

Clouds are coming in, so I hope it will rain so they'll come out and play, but it's been awfully quiet.......... Even the birds seem to be giving this area a mis.  Upswing is... there's not a whole lot of people here today..It's almost 1, computer is starting to run low on juice, I'm getting hungry and I drank 2 bottles of water (with the customary side effects) so I think I will wander down to the restaurant for relief and a cup of tea and see if they have a plug-in.

Don't forget to hug that loved one?


What's not to love about this office? LOL.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


will I sign up for a course at Scheidegger. What a mess!
I told you about the first half of the course, and some parts of the second half, but the final part is the absolute kicker!

So I turned in my exam, (did I tel you about how easy that was?) and waited. 4 to 6 weeks...... On Thursdaymorning, so the day before the deadline for getting my grade, I got word that my results were in and zipped over to e-connect to see, and just about had a conniption fit!  I failed with a 1 (out of 10 score) Not because I didn't know what I was doing, but because they couldn't open the files I had sent them. I couldn't figure out what was going on with that, because I sent myself an email, with the same zipfile from WeTransfer, and opened it just fine.... And than I realized..... I had never seen a download confirmation that they had actually downloaded the files in the first place, even though I had told them, that the link was only good for a certain number of days AND even put the expirationdate of the link in the email. I did get an email that they had sent the files on to the examiner, but I forgot to ask if they sent him the link, or the actual files. I guess that's on me.......

So I emailed them to ask the WTF!? You wait 6 weeks to tell me you can't open the files, that open just fine for everybody else, by the way, and than fail me? I got no response to that, so I called, and got no response, so I sent them another email......... and got a response! I was amazed. So sorry, don't know what happened, examiner should have let us know, so we could have advised you to resubmit, you have till Monday end of business to send us your exam information. Mind you, this email I get afternoon Friday!. In itself not a problem, but at this time, I have no clue WHY he can't open the files, and if it is the way they're zipped, sending it again, is not going to help, but WILL take a retry for the exam away. So I call, and all I'm told is that he couldn't open it, and they don't know why, and to just send it in, "it will be ok". YEAH RIGHT!!

So I send it in, in loose folders, attached to an email, (which promptly turned it into a googledrive file) with the question if they can see if they can open the files, and let me know, because I don't know why the examiner couldn't open them. I even included the email from a friend, showing that THAT morning, he opened the zip I sent initially, without a problem, so........ Help me out here. (At this time it's after 5, so well after they close for the weekend, and I'm twitching all weekend) Now their email system sends you the per-functionary "we got your mail, and get back to you eventually" message, so I called them Monday morning, probably 5 minutes after they switched the phone off weekend-service to let them know it was there, and could they please check....... They couldn't open the files, but they could check with the examiner, and please hold........  After a couple of minutes, they get back on the phone, they cannot reach the examiner, but they will open up the e-connect exam upload area for me, until the next evening. At this point, I STILL don't know if it is a zipfile thing, or if I deleted one too many files from the baseprogramming, but I'm deciding to roll with it anyway.  So I delete the old files, and upload all the files seperately. Now that's a tricky bit, because, there's an 8  file-upload max AND a total MB max the system wil allow (the reason I tried to streamline the website in the first place) I combine what I can into folders, cross my fingers and hit send.... Monday evening, I go thru what I uploaded with my nieces boyfriend to troubleshoot possible trouble, since we don't know if they can, or why they wouldn't be able to, open the files. He "spare" zips them a couple of ways, even though we both know that a zip is a zip, but hey, at this point we're grasping at straws, he writes me a hash, so they can check if the files corrupt in transfer somehow. I know, at this point, I have done everything I can possibly do to get the files there, and silently vow, if they still can't open them, I'm going to drop them off on a usb-stick taped to a brick, thru the office window. LOL.
So Tuesday morning, I call the office again, and it showed them received and passed on to the examiner. When I told him I was wondering why they couldn't be opened by them, and if maybe it was the specialized programs used to create the files (but I sincerely hoped the examiner would have them installed as well) or if there was a fundamental problem with the files, he was very nice about it, put me on hold and talked to the examiner, and came back on. He didn't seem so upbeat at that point, and when he said: "Your files are with the examiner, he can and has opened them, and your work has his full attention" my heart sank...... I figured he would nitpick it to death, just because I had been a pest! I was told that there would be results posted probably by end of the week, but no later than the end of next week.  Wednesday evening I had my results! I passed! Score of 7 out of 10, so I was extremely pleased with that. Now I can start practicing and learning for real! I'm expecting my diploma in the mail within 10 days!

You know, I'm happy I made it, but I honestly believe that this whole experience should not have been so freaking stressful. It's not the study, it's everything around it that just feels like a sheister operation. I mean, I got the same help from the teacher as if I were doing a "do it yourself" downloadable PDF course.  The books weren't worth the 400Euro's they charged for them, but I guess if they charge the same for books on every course, some courses come out ahead, and some will have more costs than gets taken in, and in the overal picture, the school doesn't lose money on the deal....... I think they actually worked for the 195 Euro I paid to take my exams, but I think they royally overcharged for the teacher to be there! And than there is the fact that they "forgot" to inform me that the course that I picked, was cancelled, sending me double the distance to school etc. etc. etc!

BUT! I MADE IT! Now the fun really starts!  I need to practice so if you have ideas, send them to me, so I have other ideas than my own to work on, but mainly to get me out of my comfort zone. THAT part doesn't take a whole lot at the moment, but still. LOL.

Well, you're updated. Tomorrow I'm going to test my "office at the zoo" and if that works, I'll be working there one day a week, until it gets too cold. Got my spot all picked out. Above the Wolverine pen, there is this deck, with hanging wicker chairs hanging from the ceiling, looking out over the whole area....... THAT'S where you will find me tomorrow, from 10 to 6. Mike will drop me off, go to work, and pick me up (he "hopes to remember to swing by the zoo" LOL) on his way home.....

For folkes reading this, and in the area, we're having a free entry to the castle weekend September 10 and 11, with all kinds of things going on, and I'm in charge of the exhibit about Archeology at the castle! SO MUCH FUN!!  I'm working on getting a Falconer, but not having a lot of luck, the event being 2 weeks away and all. LOL. I'll let you know how it pans out.

Well, it's time to leave you alone, go to market, get some lunch (I've been up since 4.30, so this is lunch time for me :-) Don't forget to hug a loved one and twice when they're the fuzzy variety?

Love and hugs,

Monday, July 25, 2016

If we could think of this.....

why didn't the "powers that be"?

The EU rules and regulations are really starting to grate at me. They're so stupid!
Case in point: PRIVACY. You're being bombarded with any kind of hurdle when you're on the internet because of privacy rules. There's site that don't even function because of the cookie messages, if you click no, you can't even go there, some are put together so bad, that there's no button or anything to click off the cookie message, some have it where it comes up everytime you switch pages. It's enough to make me stop using the internet sometimes. I don't know what they're protecting, because the marketing people are now starting to put way worse intruders up, that are not cookies, but they collect things as to what computer you're using, including the programs you have on them.... How small is the step to checking the data that's IN the programs!? Cookies you can block, these things you cannot!

Besides THAT point, if they don't want businesses to know where you are, why is every phone equipped with a tracker, your bankcard (chip MANDATORY) has identifiers on it, not just your bank account and tracks what you buy, the customer savings cards track what you buy, when and in which store and most people that are whining about privacy show off their whole life on facebook, twitter and what have you.

However: Hanging camera's to protect monuments is agains EU privacy rules! We have had Hunnebedden (which are stone-age burial mounds) destroyed but nothing can be done about it, because "camera's are an intrusion on people's privacy". BULLCOOKIES! If you're just enjoying the monuments, you have nothing to worry about, if you're there to damage the monument, you SHOULD be on camera! And for all I care, it should be broadcasted.

After the shooting in Munich the other day, the policemen's faces were clearly shown, but the moron holding the gun was blurred out, for privacy reasons..... Give me  a break. There's no shadow of a doubt that he's the shooter, he's holding the freaking gun and pointing it at people! Show his face, so we know who we're dealing with.  Ive seen it before, where they ask help to a crime, there is a video where the people they're looking for are clearly visible, but the faces of the criminals are blurred out..... WTF!? What's the sense in that? How can any one identify someone that way?

On the other hand, if there is money to be made, the powers that be don't give a hootennannie about privacy. The work that the shop owners have to do to sell in EU is unreal. And it doesn't even matter where you call home. If you're in EU borders........ they'll take your information, including things that website cookies will never get their hands on, and it has to be saved for 10 years!! It is killing small businesses. Heck, it would kill a medium size business. If they figured that it would bring back brick-and-mortar stores, they went about it the wrong way, all it's doing is killing off the little guy that wants to do his thing. I don't even think that it gives any more revenue, because I've seen too many of the scrapbook shops close over the last 2 years.

I copied the notice that was posted for EU customers, it's the first time I've seen it spelled out like this clearly.

EU VAT Changes
It truly saddens us to have to exclude our EU vistors from purchases in the store. I have been searching daily since this has come to my attention for alternatives and a way to continue to take payments from EU countries, but so far have not found anything that is really a feasible time or financial option.
I have not given up yet, and am still trying to look for alternatives that will work again in the future...
EU vistors can still use the store to "order" free items, and any order that results in a zero balance at checkout either with a discount coupon or gift certificate balance. 

At this time though we are just not able to accept orders that require a payment from EU countries - in addition to managing time wise to collect the tax and remit it and required data several times throughout the year which all cost time and money for 28 countries (and even more individual zones), I would need to securely collect and hold several types of verified collaborating personal information to prove where the person purchasing is at the exact time they made the purchase (not necessarily where they live), for each EU customer on each EU sale and keep all of that data securely (again a cost factor) for *10 years* - or I could be fined an unlimited fine - from each country if for some reason the data was not correct or to their standard. It's not a risk that bears taking at this. There is no minimum threshold on sales for this law either, so for even just one dollar, or less, of sales in a specific EU country I would have to collect and submit tax and information.

I suggest everyone who canneeds to contact your tax representives or officials and let them know the burden this places on micro businesses, work from home businesses, mom businesses, kitchen table businesses, and craft businesses, and how it limits the resources available to you. The more people speak out the more the law may be reconsidered / rewritten and some of the burden lifted for those in micro markets like ours. We aren't anywhere near the likes of Amazon, Apple, Android, etc that this law seems to be geared towards and we simply cannot afford at this time to take on the financial obligation to majorly modify site coding, to catch all EU sales prior to payment to collect and verify several collaborating personally identifying factors, secure storage to hold identifiable data for 10 years on each order, or pay for outsourcing services to manage those international taxes and secure information.
Many designers and even site owners make only supplemental income, not even "minimum wage" at times... Our market is so competitive with huge discounts. Many designers sell quality packs at only a few dollars (or less sometimes)... But many do it because they absolutely love it; the creative outlet it provides and seeing the beautiful uses that come from their passion, and because the choice to supplement their families income is better than an alternative in their life, or no job at all. Most don't even meet income levels that are considered anywhere near average for a "small" business.
If circumstances change or a reasonable financial and store coding solution becomes an option we would LOVE to be able to open the store back up to EU customers. We love our EU friends and wish this was not a burden affecting any of us.
Help us take action and get this law changed into something manageable for micro businesses selling inside and outside the EU... This affects you no matter what country you are in as the EU expects sellers across the world no matter their business size to collect VAT tax, remit it to 28 countries, and hold the verifying information on the sales for 10 years. Contact your local tax authority, where ever you are, and get your voice heard! At a minimum we need reasonable thresholds before tax collection become a requirement. And hopefully we will see even more changes happen that benefit everyone.

Just a thought. Books are calling, so I'll sign off. The 10 minutes of "go see what's new in the scrapbook world" turned into half hour, and a bad mood, so I probably should take our fuzzy roommate for a walk and make a huge cup of tea before I start "work" for the day :-)

Hope to catch you all later, in a better mood, and with exam results.
Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Exam is turned in, I'm fried (physically and mentally), tired and on to the next foik in the road. LOL

Last week I was at my sisters, and very unexpectedly received a crash-course in PHP. My biggest nemesis in getting my exam turned in. I just couldn't get my head around what was in the book vs what was expected in the exam, but by the end of the night, I more or less "got it" enough to put the required form together. After that, I had to put everything together into a cohesive assignment, check, double check and for my own peace of mind check it again, and make sure I didn't miss some little thing that would turn around and bite me, and I was ready to mail it out 2 hours before deadline. Not that I'm slow or nothing, but the site where I had to upload the packet had some issues and it took about 3 hours to get it there, where after I freaked out with the "what if!?" thought, and send it straight to the school office, with an explanation that I really didn't trust the first try.  It really gets me, the week that all exams are due, they completely revamp the website! Nothing works the same, if it works at all, and there you are, sweating that you get your things to where they have to go, so you can graduate.......  Go figure!

Sunday, as promised we went to Bokrijk. WE HAD A BLAST, got blisters, sunburn and were in bed by 8, but it was so much fun! The old breeds was kind of a bust, because the one stand that had information didn't want to give any, after they found out that a) I was from Holland, and thus for some odd reason wouldn't be interested in preserving old breeds from Belgium and b) referring back to a, I wanted information on Dutch breeds, and they didn't have any. I couldn't get across that I was interested in any old breed, because the older the breed, the better for our castle, whether it was Dutch or Belgian, because, let's face it, in 1650 both were Spanish. LOL. Supposedly, there were several groups of the old breeds in the park, but they weren't marked as such, and I found out almost at the end of the day, that all the animals in the park are actually old breeds.... I found a book, I wouldn't mind getting into the store at the castle, so I took a picture of it.  There were a couple of things that made this day absolutely perfect.............
- I had my buddy all to myself.... No TV, no computer, not even a phone, because that's on my sisters' dinnertable, right where I left it!
- We were in our favorite place, outside and amongst other old things.
- We talked, like we haven't talked to each other since I started my study, and just enjoyed each others' company.
- The weather was nice, although it seemed a lot hotter than the 82 that was predicted, but there was a little bit of overcast, so we didn't get the full sunblast. (Obviously not enough so we didn't get a sunburn, but we just put a little extra cream on our faces, neck and head and we're good to go)

Today, I just caught up on all the emails I just glanced at over the last couple of weeks, generally got my barings and vegged. Laptop on knee, kitty close by, tea within reach... pretty much a pretty relaxing day :-)

Tomorrow I will organize my pictures, and notes and such and try and find the Dutch Group that preserves old breeds, finish my schedule of more studying, setting up my business, networking, marketing etc, as well as chores around the house., and the promised research for the castle.  I'm going to try and study less than the 50 hours a week I have been studying, so I have time for my best friend, the fuzzy roommate and family and friends and still have a couple of hours to sleep at night....This requires careful planning, and sticking to it. We DID decide that we want to take a couple of days and do fun stuff. One day to the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam to see the Nightwatch, and if we have time, the 17th century 3master ship that's anchored in the harbor, one day to The Hague, to see the architecture, and eat a maatjes haring on the pier (mike, not me... YUCK!), one day to the Roman ship in Utrecht and the old fort that is rebuilt there, and if I can slip it in there, one day to a zoo we haven't been to yet :-)  We got word that the castle will be closed for winter this year, so I may actually get the house decorated for the holidays, and some scrapping done thru november/december..... Although I WILL miss going to the castle and hanging out!

Thursday I will start the day with going to Maastricht at 7AM for a meet and greet/networking event, and after that, I will have to break down, and go pick up my phone. LOL, followed by a tourguide meeting at the castle at 7.30PM. No plans for Friday or Saturday yet, and Sunday is marked in my dayrunner as "First day of the new ME!"

Well, I think you know just about everything that's been keeping my mind in frenzy... I will try and keep you posted on the proceedings a little more regularly, but for now, I'm going to say... Goodnight, and don't forget to hug that loved one! :-)


Friday, July 1, 2016

Just to prove....

that you can pretty much do ANYTHING with a KA and make it look good. LOL.

My brain needed a break from learning, so I went looking for KA-stuff. Actually, I needed an air intake valve, but this was way more fun..... I came across one, and searched for more, and more I found. Don't ask me who they belong to, because I blatantly, just downloaded and moved on. All I can say for sure, is that they're NOT my pictures!

Study is going... not great, not really rotten, but going. One more week, and than I have to turn in my exam, and than another 6 weeks until I hear the result. Meanwhile, I'll be spending the first week after exams, catching up on the house. I'll bet there's a whole extra kitty under the bed, and in corners that are hard to reach by now. The windows need cleaning, although, with the wind/rain combo we've been having, I'm not sure it will do any good, but they're on the schedule, so they're getting done. The  top of the books in the bookcase have a thick layer of dust on them, which goes against everything I believe in. (Books need to be taken out of the bookcase and dusted atleast once every other month, and preferably every month.) I picked one up the other day, and got a sneezing-fit. That just won't do, so that's going on the list as well.... And than there's the kitchen cabinets, and .... and..... You get the picture? :-)

The day after the exam, I'm taking the day semi-off. There's an old breed exhibit in the Open Air Museum in Bokrijk, about 45 minutes away, and I offered to do the research for our pettingfarm, so as a streetch, you could say that I'll be working, but it will be so much fun!  I miss going to the castle, and was actually a little bummed when I found out that the exhibit was on my first day "back", and I would have to bail the castle in favor of it. But it really didn't last all that long! LOL. Mike promised to take the day off. A rarity for a Sunday, because they're always short staffed, and he actually starts his vacations the day after, and ends his vacation the day before, so he doesn't inconvenience anybody....... So that's when I realized that he missed me :-) Cool, right!?

Coming week, I'm going to hide out at my sisters, so I can concentrate on my study. It's a lot harder than it should be, navigating between a fuzzy roommate that has no idea why you're not "available" when he needs you to be, while you're sitting "right there" and Mikes schedule of work and doctor appointments.... Add to that, that the books OR the teacher are no help at all in learning what you need to, and you know what I'm worried about. It was kinda funny though. My sister apologized for having to work, and I didn't have the heart to tell her that I preferred it that way... I can study 10 hours, uninterrupted, and at night, when she's home, we can catch up and relax, sounds like heaven to me!

Well, now that you're updated on the going on, I'll show you the pictures that started this note.....

Have a wonderful 4th of July, pray for the soldiers that are not home so we can celebrate and for the ones that paid the ultimate price for our freedom........ (I know it's Independence Day, but I can't help but think of the men and women that are not home to celebrate it with us)

Don't forget to hug a loved one?

Love and hugs!

The friendliest looking police car I can think of.....

I bet this guy had a "mudwhompin' good time"! LOL. (Wish it was me....)


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

UPdates :-)

Hi all,

The first hurdle is taken. I passed the first part of the course that will give me a new lease on a career. The second half is a bearcat (the family friendly version of what I think of it) Really, it is an extension of the quagmire of the first half, but it has more of an impact on studying. Imagine this: You sign up for a a course of 6 months, with a minimum of 20 hours of homework per week, it gets scrunched into 4 months, you get an "online learning part" that only gives instructions on what to read, textbooks that refer to chapters that aren't provided in the material, a teacher that will not respond and instructions within the textbooks that are wrong.... and all this, with subjectmatter you're trying to learn. Needless to say, I don't sleep much these days, and google search is my bestest buddy!

I'm thankful for Mike, he's putting up with cooking when he gets home, most days, because I haven't come up for air since sitting down to study when he left that morning, my family and friends that stick to "no contact" between the hours of 6AM and 8PM, and fellow students that DO respond to questions, and actively try to help eachother, because, except for the guy that has been doing this for a  living, we're all in the same boat. July 9th is the last exam, the 10th I will return to doing tours at the castle and July 11, I will spend some quality time at the zoo. In front of the gate when they open up at 10AM, and leaving when they close (Or a little after, to enjoy the peace and quiet around the wolverine paddock, and barring being recognized as "that one that always stretches leaving" and being herded out with the rest of the visitors. LOL)

After which time, I will start setting up my business as a webdesigner, and practice as if my livelyhood depended on it...... :-0

Last Sunday, I took the day off, and we went to Waalwijk, to the Dutch KA group meet. There were severe thunderstorms in the forcast, and we drove up there in a deluge. We couldn't see more than about 2 carlengths ahead at some point, and were seriously questioning our sanity but it was fun. When we got there a total of 21 KA's were in the lot, and we were the only red one. Both older models like ours, and the newer ones were there. People were friendly to us "newcomers" but you could tell, they'd been getting together for a good while, by the conversations you'd catch here and there. Hopefully, we can go next year as well, and do the pokerrun as well. About 20 minutes before we got there, it dried up, and stayed dry the rest of the day, so that was cool.  I stole a couple of pictures of the KA groups facebookpage, but this is my favorite :-)
Our little rucksack at it's first meet........ AWWWW!  LOL.

Picture by Annemarie Kuijt from facebook

Well, you're caught up with what's been going on here....... obviously, not much :-) but I thought I'd let you know that I'm still around and kicking (and occasionally headbutting the walls) and doing fine.

Talk soon, and in the meantime.... Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Monday, May 2, 2016

One down..........

at least one to go!

Handed in my exam project in Saturday, with 12 hours to spare. LOL.
I did not think I would make it.... I had coded, built and double checked the website to be turned in, changed one little thing....... and broke it!
I tried frantically on Friday night to figure out what I had done and how to fix it, when finally at 2AM I figured.... F-this and I started over. I STILL have not figured out what happened but I got it mended. I cursory checked for typos, completely blew past the grammar, because my Dutch is not really great on a good day, and it gets worse as stress sets in, so I had NO illusion that I would even recognize it if  it was completely backwards. LOL. Blissfully, content is not judged, coding and functionality are, and I think I'm good there.... I won't know for another 6 weeks.

Meanwhile, I went to the castle yesterday.... It was GOOD to be home -) A couple of ours, and lots of new things to discover. The building crew has been busy this last month. Access to the cellar is complete, the garden is all but planted, the water tortoises have awakened from their winter rest and we have goslings....... 3, out of 5 nests with 3 to 5 eggs each. I was told that the nests were checked, and all but the eggs that hatched (nest is under the bridge, surrounded by water) were opened up and emptied. So we're thinking fox, weasel or badger maybe...

And this morning, reality hit, as I started on the second leg of this re-schooling journey, 8 chapters  totalling 263 pages, with 4 exercises each plus 6 extra exercises and 10 days to get them done in.....
Can you say "allnighters"?   I had purposely NOT looked at the books, the lessons or anything related to the second half of the course, because I knew it would take my focus away from the exam, so I sat down this morning to do the planning until next trip to Utrecht. Did I tell you that instead of going to school closer to home, as signed up for,  I'm actually 20 minutes farther away? Only 3.5 hour by train, but still "reasonably accessible by public transport, according to the school...  I must be unreasonable, but I'm taking the car, and be there in 2 hours, thank you very much :-)

Well, break is over, time to get back to work. Just wanted to sit and chat for a bit. Seems like I've neglected everybody these past couple of months, and I think I will for the next few, as well.... So, think of me, bent over the computer, with a HUGE cup of coffee in my hand,  freaked out beyond reason (but enjoying the crap out of it at the same time) for the next 9 weeks, while you enjoy being outside, in nice weather, visiting. Don't feel too sorry for me though! I get to "go out" to the castle on most Sundays and have the prospect of making a living soon...

Don't forget to hug a loved one!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Still there?

Good! Thanks for not giving up on me..... I had no clue it had been this long since I visited! I'm having a blast, just no time to breathe.... I broke down, and cancelled doing tours at the castle for the month of April, so I can concentrate on my exam piece. YES it has been that long! The first part of school is already over with, and I have to have my exam piece turned in by April 30th. After that, back to the books, with the first class being scheduled for May 14th, and final exam on July 9th..... After that, I'm SO going to spend a day at the zoo!

There has been some fun stuff going on here as well. I won a hotair balloon ride! I did my research, and it is the going consensus that if you are able to enjoy an airplane ride, you will have absolutely no problem riding in a balloon.... So, scared of heights or not...... I absolutely loved being up in the air in a cessna  airplane, and I decided that I'm going to thoroughly enjoy the scenery! There is no date set yet, I guess they want to make sure that there's no high winds, and no chance of thunderstorms before they put us in a basket a couple of hundred feet in the air...... I think I like that idea. My sister said that if I know in time, she'll come take pictures! So cool. I'll need proof that I actually went up, but if I have Mike take pictures of the me in the basket, I will have no camera while I'm in the air.... Sister to the rescue! LOL.

And I went away with my sister for a couple of days after the last class. Last years birthday present and we finally managed to synchronize dayrunners.  Actually her smartphone and my dayrunner. LOL. Saturday Mike dropped me off after class, Sunday I made a plan of attack and did a little prework and Monday morning, we left for the National Park De Hoge Veluwe. We saw elk, bighorn sheep en lots of trees LOL. We had a ball. The next day we went to the hunting palace of the Royal Family Het Loo. We had a tour, that was supposed to last 1 hour, but we spend a little more than 2. There was so much to see,  and once the lady figured out I did tours as well, she REALLY told us everything she could think of... but by the time we were done with the tour there was no time to go back around and look at everything at leisure, so we'll have to go back, and do that some other time. It really is nice to get the inside information, because you notice things you might have missed, but than there is also a lot you see, but don't have time to really look at..... If I can talk Mike into going away for a day, or maybe even 2, the second half of December, they'll have the house decorated like they did Brucemore in Cedar Rapids.... It will be so impressive! (and I'll have so many ideas on how to do things around the house, it will drive Mike nuts..... which will be not so good) But it will have my Christmas Spirit recharged for a couple of years, for sure :-) Wednesday before we had to go home, we visited Ouwehand Zoo. IT WAS SO COOL!!! They have a polarbear tank where you can be at eye level, and at eyelevel I got!  I was standing right at the window, when I noticed there were heavy waves and I figured one of the bears got in the water.... You can imagine my surprise when at the end of that though I saw a head pop up right at the other side of the glass........ I couldn't believe my eyes!  Lucky for me, my sister saw him coming and made pictures. He did this twice!  After I'm done with school, I will take a week of catching up on the fun stuff and some chores before getting into the business of "getting into business" with writing a business plan, getting a licence to BE in business and all the other good stuff...... but I'm pretty sure you'll see the pictures come by.....

Well, it's eleven o'clock, and the mechanical alarm is set to go off at 5, but more likely the fuzzy alarm will go off around 3, so I best try and get at least a nap in before that happens. I'll try and get in touch in a week or so, but I can't promise I'll make it.

Well, it is "good night" for me. Don't forget to hug that loved one?!